October 2014 ............ KOS Long Weekend in North Nofolk October - 2104

Lovely weather for our long weekend away in North Norfolk with blue skies and temperatures nudging 20C every day. After a pleasant drive of 3.5 hours we arrived at the first port of call Frampton Marsh RSPB , a reserve about the size of Burton Wetlands with a similar information centre serving welcome hot drinks and snacks. Not many people around but plenty of avian activity with good numbers of Teal, Wigeon and Mallard, Greylag and Brent Geese and 3 Whooper Swans. Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Redshank, Snipe, Curlew, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Redshank and Lapwing were all ticked off on the species list to which we were able to add Glossy Ibis, as a long staying individual put in an appearance on the far side of the marsh. Bob chose not to walk all the way around the perimeter but was not to be outdone and added Peregrine, Short-eared Owl, Merlin and Sparrowhawk to the day list.

Leaving the Premier Inn the next morning we headed first to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Cley Reserve - £4.50 entry and £4.50 for a bacon batch, I've paid less than that at Old Trafford (for a batch)! although in fairness the fruit scones were more reasonably priced and very tasty. We headed first for the hides directly opposite the information centre where we added Pink-footed Goose, Bearded Tit, Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler to an ever increasing list before driving to the Eye Pool and the east bank area of the Reserve. A Grey Phalarope was showing well on the pool and attracting a steady stream of visitors whilst on the sea we noted only Guillemot and a single Red-throated Diver. At one stage three migrating Redwings arrived low over the water after their perilous journey from the north, they attempted to land but, seeing the crowds, thought better of it and headed off elsewhere for some rest and recuperation.

It was then time for some twitching and we travelled to the village of Stiffkey (Harold Francis Davidson the Rector of Stiffkey was convicted on charges of immorality and defrocked by the Church in 1932 - he was killed by a lion in Blackpool!). After parking the car we followed a muddy path as far as Warhams Green for the Isabelline Shrike which was very active and provided some excellent views.

Some of us thought that now would be a good time to return to the hotel for a couple of hours relaxation before the evening meal, but no, it was on to Holkham Pines in search of a Pallas's Warbler seen earlier in the day! The last known location of the bird was easily identified by the presence of a substantial group of old folk gazing into the heavens - we never saw it, but by way of compensation a Firecrest showed briefly and was picked up by some of the party. Saturday found us at the Titchwell RSPB Reserve , it was proving to be very popular with a constant movement of birders between the various hides. We heard a well hidden Cetti's Warbler in song close to where we were sat along one of the paths,whilst from the hides new species included Avocet, Spotted Redshank, Egyptian Goose, Mediterranean and Little Gulls. There was a small cafe at the information centre and I can recommend the cheese and bacon toastie. Snettisham RSPB Reserve proved to be something of a disappointment, after a long trek to the hides the hoped for large movement of waders failed to materialise as the tide just wasn't high enough, although there were plenty of birds out on the mudflats including Sanderling, Knot and Grey Plover. A constant stream of newly arrived Chaffinches, in small groups of around 20 birds, passed overhead all afternoon.

On Sunday morning before heading home we visited the Welney Wetland Centre , this is a great place with panoramic views over the Ouse Washes from the main observatory. New species for the trip were, by now, getting harder to find but we did see single Swallows and House Martins, Jude found a flying Barn Owl for us and even Frank weighed in with 2 Green Sandpipers feeding just below where we sat in the Nelson-Lyle hide!

We recorded 104 species in total during the long weekend - not a bad effort - well done team!!

As usual our thanks go to Derek and Sheila for all their hard work in the background over the preceding few weeks, it really is appreciated.

Red-throated Diver, Little Grebe, Gannet, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan. Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Goose, Greylag, Goose, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Pintail, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Scoter, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Grey Phalarope, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Greater Black-Backed Gull, herring Gull, Razorbill, Stock dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Swallow, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat, Wheatear, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Redwing, Cetti's Warbler, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Bearded Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Siskin, Linnet, Bullfinch, Isabelline Shrike, Glossy Ibis.

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